How my blog business cards turned out

A while back, I posted a prototype of my blog business card, and asked for comments and suggestions. You all came up with lots of great ideas, and I promised to post a picture of the finished product, so here it is!

I decided to go with the vertical front design and horizontal back. Your suggestions were incorporated by adding white space to the back of the card, and only using the glossy coating on the front. The position of the blog address was also moved so it doesn’t look like a mustache anymore.

Thanks for all of your input! I really appreciate it, and I love the way the cards turned out! Also, a huge thanks to Jason at GorillaSushi, for his patience, design skillz, and willingness to tweak the details until they were just the way I wanted them. (I made him change the color of the hair a couple of times. I’m annoying like that.) If you need something printed, go ask Jason. 🙂

P.S. – And don’t forget to enter our contest to win a free month of advertising on a whole bunch of blogs! It used to be 10 blogs, but now it’s up to 35!

UPDATE: Hey, I just found out my card design was selected as one of the “30 best business cards of August 2008.” Yaay!

Science + Humor + Explosions = Mythbusters

If you’re not familiar with the Mythbusters, they’re the talented team of people who combine science, robotics, engineering, ballistics gel, explosives, and many other ingredients, to test urban legends and popular myths. This program is one of my favorites. It’s great geek fare, and if you don’t get it, you should find it on DVD.

The main on-screen members of the team are Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, and Tory Belleci. They’ve taken on lots of interesting projects, testing everything from sharks (can you stop an attack by poking it in the eyes?) to MacGyver (can you foil the bad guys and make an escape using whatever you can find lying around?).

Tonight, they’re taking on the moon landing conspiracy theory. Did those astronauts really land on the moon and bring back those photos (the flag, the footprints, etc.), or was it all staged in a studio?

First, Adam and Jamie focus on photos, testing the theory that two of NASA’s most famous images were shot in a studio. Then, they investigate the myth about walking on the moon, including how the government shot the footage in a studio and then simply slowed it down for that famous “low-lunar gravity look.” Grant, Tory and Kari take on hoax theories involving a vacuum chamber -– specifically, the claims that footage of astronaut footprints and the American flag were physically impossible and had to have been faked. Without water in a vacuum, how could the moon footprints have been so defined? In the absence of wind, can a flag flutter as if caught in a breeze? Finally, Adam and Jamie travel to a New Mexico observatory to see if they can catch a reflection of a man-made object using a laser aimed at the moon.

I’ve never really doubted the veracity of the official moon landing account, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing my favorite team investigate this one tonight. I wonder what kind of robot Grant will build this time, and whether they’ll be able to blow anything up at the end… 🙂

Best coffee table ever!

This is awesome! Twenty-year old Australian Kyle Downes built this retro-style Nintendo controller from scratch. He scanned his old controller, enlarged the image, printed it out on big paper, took measurements, made calculations, built it, wired it, and VOILA! It’s actually playable!

He describes how he did it on his blog (ultra-awesome.blogspot.com), so you can make your own if you want to. Oh, and it’s also practical, because the whole thing opens up like a trunk, and you can store your old game cartridges inside. Amazing.

I got a new ergonomic keyboard for my MacBook!

You might have seen my comments and complaints on Twitter a while back, when I was searching for a good ergonomic keyboard to use with my MacBook. I have fast fingers and tender wrists, and when I need to do lots of serious typing, I need a good keyboard. I love my MacBook, but the key action is more shallow than I like, and the straight, flat layout strains my wrists.

The first keyboard I ordered wasn’t fully Mac-compatible, so I had to return it. The search continued, and I was a little frustrated.

Well, a friendly Twitter user noticed my lament, and he just happens to work for KeyOvation, the company that produces the Goldtouch adjustable ergonomic keyboard! He set me up with a free keyboard (woohoo!), and I was so excited!

The keyboard is awesomely adjustable. It is split down the middle and joined with a ball joint at the top, so you can configure the degree of separation between the halves, and the angle of tilt. It’s very flexible!

It’s fun to maneuver it into different poses, but I like it best with a moderate amount of separation and a slight slope from the outsides to the center divide. That’s most comfortable for me, but you could do whatever you want with it.

As for key action, I’m a bit picky. I’m a lifelong pianist, and I’ve worked as a transcriptionist in the past. The Goldtouch has a really nice feel. The depth of the key depression is just right, the rebound is quick, and the pressure required to register a stroke is soft, but not too touchy.

The only thing I would add to the Goldtouch would be some kind of little trackball or joystick. It’s not really a necessary part of the standard keyboard function, but it would make it even better for use with a laptop. Not a big deal, though.

The verdict: I love the Goldtouch keyboard! If you’re particular about your typing and need an adjustable keyboard, I definitely recommend it. Cheers! 🙂

GenCon geeks: Secretly, I longed to be among them…

Last weekend, there were two huge events occurring simultaneously downtown in Indianapolis. We went downtown on Saturday evening — no, not for either of the big events, but to return a tie to Nordstrom (exciting, eh) — and saw huge crowds of people.

There were hundreds of little pods of fans moving along sidewalks, waiting on corners, lined up for dinner, and clogging the corridors at the mall. And you could tell just by looking at them, which event they were attending.

Because the two events were: the grand opening of the new Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, and Gen Con, the biggest gaming convention in the world. You can imagine that the attire and social customs of these two fan groups were quite distinct. The contrast was very entertaining.

Sports Fans

Most of the Colts people had on their blue (or sometimes pink, for the ladies) jerseys, caps, etc. The Colts horseshoe logo and players’ names were everywhere.

My People

On the other hand, most of the Gen Con geeks (I use that term affectionately) had on dark t-shirts (was there a memo about wearing black?), accessorized with their big convention badges. Some were dressed for live-action role playing, complete with weapons. We saw a crew of pirates, a Goth couple, an anime girl with blue hair, a Jedi-type, and few others whose costumes we didn’t recognize. Oh, and some t-shirts with gaming web sites, and even one with a 12-sided die on the front. And that was just on the street and in the mall. We didn’t have badges, so we didn’t actually go into the convention center. It probably would have looked like another world!

Oh, how I wish I could have seen that. Maybe next year. 🙂

Photo by Brandy Shaul

My first contest! Win free ads on GeekMomMashup.com and 9 other blogs!

AdSpace ContestToday is the first day of The AdSpace Contest and I’m excited to announce that I am one of ten co-hosts.

The idea is simple and easy: Get as many entries as you can (very easy to do) over the next 30 days. The more entries you get, the better chance you have of winning! At the end of the 30 days, we’ll announce the winner.

The prize?
A 125×125 pixel ad spot (above the fold) on at least TEN DIFFERENT BLOGS that will run for one month. That’s at least a $100 value!

Who are the ten fabulous contest hosts? Let me introduce…

http://www.gorillasushi.com/files/AdSpaceContest/guesthosts.htm

How do you enter to win?
1 Entry – Subscribe to any one of the blogs above via email.
10 Entries – Write a post about the contest (must include links to all 10 hosts OR use our suggested text)
25 Entries – Offer up an ad spot on your own blog for one month as part of the prize package (links will be listed above)

Simply put, you could subscribe to all 10 blogs, write a post and offer up your own ad spot for a grand total of 45 entries! Be sure to tell us in the comments below when and how you’ve entered to ensure that your entries get counted.

I wish you Good Geeky Luck!

Organic fruit and nuts?

I’ve had an opportunity to try some new snacks, thanks to my friends at Posh Mama. I was a bit skeptical at first, because although I do enjoy fruit and nuts… Well, I must be honest and say I’d rather have them dipped in chocolate than simply cut and dried, “organic, nothing added.”

But I have to report that I was pleasantly surprised by the Peeled Snacks I tried. My favorite was the “go-Mango-man-go,” which is dried strips of mango, no sugar (or anything else) added. They tasted just like mango should taste, but a bit more intense: sweet, tropical, and a little bit tart. Delicious!! Hubby loves pineapple, and he declared the “pine-4-Pineapple” to be the best. The first-grader even liked the pineapple! The nuts were also tasty, even though they didn’t have any chocolate on them. 🙂

I could get used to these natural treats, and I think I could even get my kids to eat them. I’m definitely going to get some more of those dried mangoes for myself! If you’re interested in some organic snack ideas for your family, check these out.

I gobbled up some free samples of Peeled Snacks fruit and nuts, in order to write this informed review.

GeekMom’s review of the Sony nav-u portable navigation device

I hate to reinforce gender stereotypes, but when it comes to my innate navigation abilities, I’m pretty girlish. My hubby never gets lost, and he teases me when I don’t remember how to get someplace I’ve been before.

On the other hand, he also says I’m a bit “mannish” when it comes to using new gadgets, because I detest instruction manuals. I’ll be playing with a new toy, asking questions about how to do something, and he’ll ask me, “Did you read the instructions?”

Instructions? Ha! I don’t need no stinkin’ instructions. I usually skim the “quick start” guide, if there is one, so I know how to not break the thing. Then, I power it up and start pushing buttons.

The latest gadget I’ve been able to test is the Sony nav-u portable navigation device (NV-U83T). Luckily, it is easy to start using, and I didn’t have to read through a long instruction manual. It was a very simple start-up.

Once I got it plugged in and running, I took it out on the road. It figured out where my car was, and showed me my local area on the big, colorful, touch screen. As far as navigation goes, I’d say it’s pretty much like other GPS devices. I think they use some of the same satellites to do the mapping stuff, so they’re not all that different. I’d used a couple of other handheld GPS devices before, but the Sony has a bigger screen, and more features, than any other I’ve used.

My favorite feature of the nav-u is its Bluetooth compatibility. I was able to pair it with my cell phone, and make hands-free calls through the nav-u. Setting up the pairing was painless (no instruction manual required!), due to excellent on-screen help.

One really cool thing about the nav-u is how you can combine mapping with communications. For example, say you want to find a restaurant. You use the touch screen to get to the list of restaurants in your area. Browse it and narrow it down until you find one you like. Then, just click and call to make a reservation, right through the nav-u! Being the geeky homebody that I am, Hubby and I don’t get out to fancy downtown restaurants very often, but if you’re a traveling diner, I can imagine this function would be pretty handy!

And, of course, you can use it to find lots of other types of businesses and destinations, as well. Hotels, hospitals, gas stations, fast food, etc.

On the down side, the nav-u had trouble finding my home. It would get me close, but even when I was parked in my garage, it kept trying to navigate for me. I guess that’s because we live in a newer neighborhood, and whichever satellite provides maps to the unit is not quite up to date, but Hubby’s TomTom doesn’t have the same problem. However, once I was out on the main roads, it knew exactly where I was.

Overall, the nav-u was fun and easy to use. I didn’t have to read the whole manual to get it working, and I didn’t have to ask for directions while I was using it! If you’re interested in all of the features (live traffic information and more) and specs on the device, please visit Sony.

I did not receive any compensation for this review.

Geeky + Crafty = Me

I love my MacBook, but its clean, sleek white case was lacking a bit of personality. Sure, I could get a fancy vinyl skin or some flashy decals for it, but I was struck with a sudden, simple, crafty impulse. Here is the result of that inspiration. I love it! Now, it needs a name. What do you think?